Tag Archives: shrimp

Shrimp Puttanesca

shrimp puttanesca x
~ Shrimp Puttanesca ~
It took me a long while to make puttanesca – that feisty Italian tomato sauce packed with briny, sharp, spicy, fishy flavors. I confess it was the anchovies. While I don’t mind anchovies, I don’t liberally cook with them either, harboring a childhood timidity toward their pungent fishiness. I should know better: Anchovies are a magical ingredient, a bright star in the cuisines of the Mediterranean and Asia (think fish sauce). When used with restraint, anchovies melt into a dish, amplifying flavor and producing an elusive umami quality that keeps us digging in for more. So in the spirit of the New Year and a kick in the derriere, I made this puttanesca-inspired sauce, and now I am smitten. Goodness knows why I waited so long.


Shrimp Puttanesca

Serve as is or tossed with spaghetti. This recipe may be prepared with other shellfish and fish such as clams, mussels, squid or firm fleshed fish filets.

Serves 4

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 small onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 anchovy filets, finely chopped
1 teaspoon crushed red chili flakes, divided
2 cups grape or small cherry tomatoes
1/3 cup oil-cured or kalamata olives, pitted, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 teaspoons capers, rinsed
1 pound medium shrimp, shelled and deveined
Salt
Chopped fresh Italian parsley for garnish

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until it begins to soften, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic, anchovies and 1/2 teaspoon chili flakes. Saute until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, olives, white wine and capers. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes begin to break down and sauce thickens, about 20 minutes. Taste for seasoning and add a spoonful of sugar if needed. Keep warm.
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in another skillet. Add 1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes. Arrange the shrimp in one layer in the skillet and season with salt. Cook until pink on both sides and just cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes, turning once. Arrange the shrimp on  a serving plate. Spoon the puttanesca sauce over and around the shrimp. Garnish with parsley and serve immediately with crusty bread.

Fish Cakes

Calling these “fish cakes” really doesn’t do them justice. The “fish” part is right, but “cake” infers flour, fat and eggs with a bread-like crumb. These crispy succulent fish patties have none of that. They are packed with 3 types of fish, fresh herbs and chiles, and just a little filler to hold them together. I’ve combined sweet baby shrimp, salmon and Alaskan smoked halibut in this recipe, but feel free to adjust the quantities of each, so long as you have about 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 pounds in total. I do recommend including smoked fish – it’s flavor adds a certain heartiness and saltiness to these, er, cakes, evoking the seaside on a grey and misty autumn day.

Fish Cakes

Finely chop the fish instead of processing in a food processor. This will ensure a chunky – not pasty – consistency. Makes about 16 (2-inch) cakes.

1 3/4 cups Panko breadcrumbs, divided
1 salmon fillet, about 6 ounces, skin and pin-bones removed, finely chopped
3/4 pound cooked baby shrimp, finely chopped
1/2 pound smoked fish (halibut or salmon), finely chopped
1 red jalapeno chile peppers, stemmed and seeded, finely minced
1/4 cup grated yellow onion, with juices
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons whole milk Greek yogurt or sour cream
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh Italian parsley and/or cilantro leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Sauce:
1 cup whole milk Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon Sriracha, or to taste
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt

Extra-virgin olive oil

Place 1 1/2 cups breadcrumbs in a shallow bowl. Set aside. Place remaining 1/4 cup breadcrumbs and all of the remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Gently mix to thoroughly combine, without overmixing. With a light hand, carefully form 2-inch patties. Roll in the reserved breadcrumbs to coat and arrange in one layer on a tray or platter. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour and up to 3 hours.
Prepare the sauce: Whisk all of the ingredients together in a small bowl. Keep refrigerated until use.
Fry the fish cakes: Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add fish cakes in batches without overcrowding. Fry until brown and crispy on both sides, turning once. Transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel. Keep warm. Serve  with Yogurt Sriracha Sauce.

If you like this, you might enjoy these TasteFood recipes:
Smoky Fennel Salmon Chowder
Cioppino with a Twist
Smoked Mackerel Pate with Horseradish and Dill

Cooking for your Health: Healthy Entertaining with Fresh Spring Rolls

In this month’s installment of Cooking for your Health, we’re talking parties. More specifically, we’re talking healthy party food. I can’t think of a better way to have a good time than to have a group of friends over and to feed them. Sometimes this means a sit-down dinner with many courses, other times it’s a bunch of appetizers to call a meal. Either way, finger food is always involved and ideally it will be light, flavorful and nutritious, while being festive enough to be invited to a party. One of my favorite hors d’oeurvres is fresh spring rolls, which you might call a salad roll. They are bright, colorful, bursting with fresh veggies and herbs, and served with a spicy peanut dipping sauce with a kick of heat. They are a perfect way to begin a meal: Not only are they delicious, they are healthy, low in calories and won’t leave you with a stuffed feeling – even if you find yourself standing over the tray gobbling them up because they are so darn good.

Fresh Spring Rolls

For a vegetarian option, omit the shrimp. Feel free to mix and match your vegetables to taste and heat preference. Choose between sweet peppers, spicy chiles, jicama, daikon, cucumber, chinese cabbage, carrots, green onions. Remember that the key to a good roll is to have a balance of sweet, savory, heat and salt in the ingredients and to combine a variety of textures for a satisfying bite.  Be sure to prepare all the ingredients in advance, so that when you are ready to assemble the rolls, everything is in place.

Makes 8 rolls.

For the spring rolls:
8 (eight-inch/22 cm.) spring roll wrappers (galettes de riz)
8 large green lettuce leaves, any tough ribs removed, torn in half
4 scallions or spring onions, ends trimmed, halved, cut length-wise in julienne strips
2 large carrots, peeled, cut in matchsticks
1 large red bell pepper or 4 red jalapeno chile peppers, stemmed, seeded, cut in matchsticks
1 english cucumber, seeded, cut in matchsticks
1 large bunch coriander leaves and tender stems
1 large bunch mint leaves
16 medium cooked shrimp, peeled, halved lengthwise (optional)

For the Peanut Lime Sauce:
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon creamy peanut butter
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon Sriracha or hot sauce
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh cilantro

Make Spring Rolls:
Pour warm water into a wide bowl. Immerse one rice paper round in water to just soften, about 5 seconds.  Remove and spread on a plastic cutting board.  Let stand for 30 seconds to absorb water. Arrange 2 lettuce leaf halves over the bottom half of the rice paper round.  Top lettuce with a line of green onion, carrot, pepper, cucumber, coriander and mint. Fold bottom of rice paper over filling and tuck around the filling to compact it. Arrange 4 shrimp halves horizontally over the crease and continue rolling. Transfer roll, seam-side down to a plate and cover with damp towel.  Repeat with remaining rolls.  (Adjust ingredient amounts to taste and to ensure the roll is plump and full).
Spring rolls may be made up to 4 hours in advance.  Cover with damp paper towels and plastic wrap and refrigerate. To serve, cut cross-wise in quarters, with one shrimp per segment, or in half.  Serve with Peanut Lime Sauce for dipping.

Make Peanut Lime Sauce:

Whisk  all ingredients except the cilantro together in a small bowl. Taste for seasoning. (Add 1 more tablespoon water if desired). Refrigerate covered until use. Before serving add cilantro.

If you like this, you might enjoy more Cooking for your Health recipes:
Homemade Granola Bars
Salmon Wrapped in Kale with Harissa
Greek Couscous Salad

Baked Shrimp and Kale with Chermoula

~ Shrimp, Kale, Chermoula, Oven ~

It’s not fair to say that this recipe is all about the chermoula sauce. After all, shrimp and kale are no slouches when it comes to ingredients. It’s just that the chermoula does something wicked to this dish. Let me first tell you what chermoula is: a North African paste including cilantro, parsley, lemon, paprika, cumin and garlic. Typically chermoula is used as a marinade for fish, but I’ve used it with beef, chicken, thick slices of eggplant and cauliflower steaks; it always tastes good. So good, you might be tempted to eat it with a spoon or swipe a hunk of bread through it and call it a snack. In the case of this recipe, I dropped chermoula-coated shrimp over a bed of kale and popped the whole lot in the oven. It was almost too easy considering how good it turned out.

Baked Shrimp and Kale with Chermoula

For a smokier version, substitute the paprika with smoked paprika. Serves 4.

Chermoula:
1/2 cup fresh cilantro sprigs, chopped
1/4 cup fresh Italian parsley leaves, chopped
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 large garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 pound large shrimp, deveined, shells removed
1 bunch lacinato kale, tough ribs removed
Extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling

Heat oven to 375 F.  Combine the chermoula ingredients together in a large bowl. Mix well. Add shrimp and toss to coat. Tear the kale leaves into large pieces. Lightly oil a 9-by-13-inch rectangular baking dish. Arrange the kale in one layer in the baking dish. Lightly drizzle with olive oil. Dump the shrimp into the baking dish and arrange in one layer over the kale. Spoon any remaining chermoula over the kale and shrimp. Bake until the shrimp are bright in color and just cooked through, 20-25 minutes. Serve with crusty bread.

If you like this, you might enjoy these TasteFood recipes:
Grilled Sriracha Chicken Skewers
Moroccan Lamb Stew
Coconut Shrimp Curry

Why I Cook and a recipe for Shrimp, Bulgur and Kale Salad

I think many of you understand what I mean when I say that life right now is a little tilted. There is a new normal to many assumptions and expectations we have taken for granted. Some of this is organic: Life changes. Kids grow, parents age, we shift. Some of this is external, a result of the state of the world as we know it, affecting finances, jobs, homes, security – even the weather. We all have our own mix of ingredients that concoct a recipe, a plan, for life. Yet, the only sure thing is that there is no sure thing. And this is why I like to cook.

A while back, I was asked by a writer, cook and friend, Why do I cook? Since then I’ve given that question much thought and come up with numerous answers. If I had to choose one, this would be it: Not only does cooking nourish on a daily basis, stroking the senses and filling the belly, it’s predictable, methodical and intensely personal. While paradigms may shift, and new normals unfold, there is a consistency to cooking, rooted in history, embracing the present, telling a story and binding a family – colored by a sensuality and creative fingerprint that nudges the soul. I might not have a crystal ball, but I can predict my dinner, and I will make it happen. When I cook, I surrender to its principles, meditate on the process, and revel in its artistic shape. The power to create and provide the sustenance that nourishes and connects the people who touch us is a most simple and powerful gift which we can realize for ourselves and loved ones every single day, no matter the turns that life takes. That is why I cook. Why do you like to cook?

Shrimp, Bulgur and Kale Salad

There is something intrinsically satisfying about a grain salad. Hearty, fresh and toothsome, brimming with greens and chopped vegetables, it’s both nutritious and versatile. Feel free to substitute farro, quinoa, wheat berries or couscous for the bulgur, and toss in your favorite seasonal vegetables. Top it with shrimp, chicken, steak, or, for a vegetarian version, sprinkle with feta cheese. Serves 4.

For the bulgur and kale salad:
1 1/2 cups bulgur
1 1/4 cups hot water
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon Tabasco or hot sauce
6 large Tuscan/Lacinato kale leaves, tough stems removed, chopped
2 scallions, white and green parts thinly sliced
1 large carrot, finely grated
1 small red bell pepper, stemmed and seeded, finely diced
1/2 small red onion, finely chopped, about 1/2 cup
1/4 cup each chopped fresh flat leaf parsley, mint and cilantro

For the shrimp:
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 pound medium shrimp, shelled and deveined
1/2 teaspoon crushed red chili flakes, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 lemon

Prepare the salad:
Place the bulgur in a large bowl. Pour the water over the bulgur and stir to combine. Add lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper, cumin and Tabasco. Stir again. Set aside until the liquid is absorbed and the bulgur is tender but chewy, about 20 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and stir well. Taste for seasoning. If necessary, add more olive oil to moisten the salad.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet or grill pan over medium high heat. (If using a grill, prepare grill for direct cooking over medium heat.) Cook or grill shrimp, turning once, until their color turns pink and they are just cooked through the center, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a bowl. Sprinkle with chili flakes, salt and drizzle with juice from half a lemon.

To serve, arrange salad on a platter or divide among serving plates. Top with shrimp. Garnish with extra red chili flakes and chopped parsley.

If you like this, you might enjoy these recipes:
Warm Steak and Farro Salad with Golden Beets and Chickpeas from TasteFood
Spiced Bulgur Pilaf with Pine Nuts and Currants from Cookin’ Canuck
Red Quinoa and Kale Slaw from TasteFood
Layered Quinoa Salad with Beet Vinaigrette from Family Fresh Cooking

Shrimp, Corn and Black Bean Tostadas

~ Shrimp, Corn and Black Bean Tostadas ~

Little did I know that when we moved to California from Denmark, my children’s favorite fast food would become a burrito.  I’ve never been a huge fan of Mexican cuisine, but now that we live in a state where English sometimes takes a back seat to Spanish, it makes sense to embrace the local flavors. The burrito’s oozing combination of beans, rice, cheese and meat rolled up in a soft tortilla are a little too dense for my garden-fresh sensibilities, so when I cook Mexican-inspired food at home, I lighten it up with lots of fresh vegetables, homemade salsas and herbs. We made these tostadas the other night and served the ingredients buffet-style, so everyone could pile on the garnishes to their taste.  Continue reading Shrimp, Corn and Black Bean Tostadas

Low Sodium Love: Coconut Shrimp Curry

Coconut Shrimp Curry – who needs salt?

A year ago, I participated in a food blog event hosted by Jessica, the author of the wonderful blog Sodium Girl. The challenge was to make a favorite recipe and reduce the salt as much as possible. As a salt lover, I confess that this terrified me. What if the lack of sodium  led to bland and dull results? How would I put a positive spin on unsaltiness? Well, as you can see from that post, I couldn’t have been more surprised and pleased when my doctored chicken wing recipe resulted in finger-licking deliciousness.

So, this year when Jessica asked if I would participate in a repeat of the challenge, I had less trepidation. I decided to adapt one of the most viewed recipes on TasteFood – Coconut Shrimp Curry – and exorcise it of any added sodium without compromising on flavor. After all, if it’s such a popular recipe, why not make it available to anyone who is watching their sodium intake? In this contest, natural salt found in whole ingredients is acceptable, but no added or processed salt is allowed. Shrimp have a natural saltiness which would be a boost to the flavor. And, as I learned last year, a great way to compensate for reduced sodium is to ramp up the aromatics and spices, which I did with generous amounts of garlic, fresh ginger, chiles and curry powder – all the good stuff, if you ask me. A spoonful of sugar rounded out the stew and a squeeze of fresh lime juice added sharpness and acidity.

And gosh darn it, it happened again. Once again the results thoroughly impressed me. The curry was rich, bright and brimming with flavor. The extra squeeze of lime provided an extra kick and, dare I say, tricked me into thinking there was plenty of salt in the curry. I even cheated and added a pinch of salt to a small bowlful for comparison. And, guess what? I found the results a little too, well, salty. Go figure.

Thank you, Jessica, for inviting me to participate again this year. For more inspiring low sodium recipes that are heart healthy and delicious with a big spoonful of valuable information,  you can read Jessica’s blog here and find all of the recipe links for this Low Sodium Rally here.

Coconut Shrimp Curry

Feel free to add additional vegetables, such as carrots or cauliflower, to the stew. Depending on the heat of the chiles, adjust amounts to your taste. Serves 4 to 6.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped, about 1 1/2 cups
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 green jalapeño pepper, stemmed and seeded, minced
1 red jalapeño or serrano pepper, stemmed and seeded, minced
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
1 medium zucchini, quartered lengthwise, each quarter sliced in 1/2-inch pieces
1 1/2 tablespoons curry powder
1 – 26 ounce package Pomi chopped tomatoes
1 1/2 cups coconut milk
1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 pound frozen large shrimp, defrosted, peeled and deveined
1/2 cup cilantro/coriander leaves, coarsely chopped
1 lime, cut in wedges

Heat oil in deep skillet or soup pot. Add onion and sauté until soft but not brown, about 3 minutes. Add garlic, jalapeños and ginger. Sauté until fragrant, 1 minute. Add zucchini and curry powder; sauté 1 minute. Stir in tomatoes, coconut milk and sugar. Simmer 10 minutes. Add shrimp and cook until they turn pink and are just cooked through. Add cilantro. Taste for seasoning. Serve immediately in bowls with basmati rice and lime wedges for squeezing over the curry.

Cioppino with a Twist


~
I would like to call this recipe a cioppino. Cioppino is a fish stew with a San Francisco pedigree reaching back to the 1800’s. The name is derived from the Italian term ciuppin, which means “to chop.”  It’s believed that the Italian and Portuguese fisherman would chop up leftovers from their daily catch to make this robust and flavorful soup. The reason why I hesitate slightly about labeling it a cioppino is that I have taken a liberty with this recipe that is neither Italian nor Portuguese at all. It’s Greek.

Wine is a key ingredient in the cioppino stock, and recipes gamely call for white or red, depending on the source. I usually use red wine, however in this recipe I tried white. The result was a lighter, more acidic broth that I felt needed a little oomph. Additional salt and extra pepper helped, as did a spoonful of sugar (which often works wonders in tomato-based stocks and sauces.) Still, something was missing. I looked no further than the fennel I had sautéed with the onion as a base for the stock, and I reached for the Ouzo, a Greek anise liqueur, in the back of the pantry. It was a perfect shot. The Ouzo coaxed out the licorice flavor of the fennel, adding depth and roundness with subtle anise notes. So here you have it: Cioppino with a Greek twist.

Cioppino
Serves 6

1/4 cup olive oil
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 28-ounce can Italian plum tomatoes, with juices
2 cups dry white wine
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1/4 cup Ouzo or other anise liqueur
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon granulated sugar (optional)
18 littleneck clams
18 medium shrimp, peeled, deveined
6 large sea scallops, about 3/4 pound
2 cooked crabs, legs cracked, flesh removed from bodies
1 pound firm fleshed white fish such as halibut or sea bass, cut in 2 inch chunks

Fresh Italian parsley

Heat oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add garlic, onion, fennel, bay leaf, oregano and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring until vegetables are soft and onion is translucent without coloring, about 8 minutes. Stir in tomato paste. Add tomatoes, wine, chicken stock, Ouzo, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, 30 minutes. Taste for seasoning. If necessary add a spoonful of sugar. Add clams. Cook, stirring, until they open. (Discard any clams that do not open.) Add shrimp, sea scallops and white fish. Cook, partially covered, stirring occasionally, until all of the fish is cooked through. Add crab legs and meat. Simmer to heat through. Serve hot in bowls. Garnish with fresh parsley.

Shrimp and Feta Salad

~ Mixed Greens, Shrimp, Feta, Tomatoes, Cured Olives ~

Shrimp and feta cheese make a perfect couple. The sharp salty cheese is a perfect complement to the briny sweet shrimp. I like to combine these two friends in rice or orzo dishes. I also enjoy baking them in a gratin with tomatoes and olives, drizzled with ouzo – which was my original intention for dinner tonight. However, time got the best of me, and for a super quick fix I tossed the shrimp in this salad instead. What would have been a simple green salad graciously accommodated sautéed shrimp and chunks of feta, transforming itself into a light and fresh main course. As for the ouzo, it was hardly bypassed, but turned into an apertif to launch our dinner. A very acceptable compromise, indeed.

Shrimp and Feta Salad

I also added red corn kernels to the salad, because I had them – and they looked so pretty with the shrimp. Serves 4.

For the vinaigrette:
1 small garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Whisk all of the ingredients except the oil together in a small bowl. Slowly whisk in the olive oil in a steady stream to emulsify. Set aside.

For the salad:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
16 medium shrimp, shelled with tails in tact, deveined
8 cups mixed greens, such as red oak, bibb, arugula
1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved if large
1/2 red pepper, seeded, membranes removed, thinly sliced
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
16 black olives (brine cured or kalamata)
6 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
Italian parsley leaves

Heat the oil and red pepper flakes in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add shrimp in one layer, without overcrowding the pan. Cook, turning once, until bright pink on both sides, about 1 minute each side. Transfer shrimp to a plate. Cool.
Combine the greens, tomatoes, red pepper and onion together in a large bowl. Drizzle 1/4 cup vinaigrette over the greens and toss to coat. Divide among plates. Scatter olives and feta over the salad. Arrange shrimp on top. Drizzle with additional vinaigrette to taste. Garnish with parsley. Serve with bread or pita.

Coconut Shrimp Curry

Coconut Shrimp Curry

It’s that time of year again: the holidays have passed, the reality of winter sets in, and I have a bout of  culinary wanderlust. Over-sated with the goodies of Christmas-past, it’s now time for comfort and heat. I crave stews and spice, at once hearty and exotic. The warmth of soup soothes the soul on a wintry night, while aromatic spices titillate the senses, hinting of sunny far flung destinations. Heady and satisfying, I can’t think of a better way to embrace the cold, grey January weather.

Coconut Shrimp Curry

This recipe may be easily prepared in 20 minutes – just enough time to cook the rice. Serves 4

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, stemmed and seeded, minced
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 – 28 ounce can Italian plum tomatoes
1 1/2 cups coconut milk
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 cup cilantro/coriander leaves, coarsely chopped

Heat oil in deep skillet or soup pot. Add onion and sauté until soft but not brown, 2-3 minutes. Add garlic, jalapeno, ginger and sauté until fragrant, 1 minute. Add curry powder and continue sautéing, 1 minute. Add tomatoes, coconut milk, salt and pepper; simmer 5 minutes. Stir in shrimp and cook until they turn pink and are just cooked through. Stir in cilantro. Taste to adjust seasoning. Serve immediately in bowls with basmati rice.